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California Has Longer ER Wait Times, But Fares Better By Other Health Measures

A new analysis of Californians and their health care suggests quality is improving in some areas, but California is behind the nation by other measures.

Aired 10/11/13 on KPBS News.

A new analysis of Californians and their health care suggests quality is improving in some areas, but California is behind the nation by other measures.

The report from the California HealthCare Foundation found the state stood out from the national average in emergency room wait times. Californians admitted to the hospital from the ER typically waited more than 5 hours, almost an hour longer than the national average.

Howard Backer is director of the Emergency Medical Services Authority of California.

“I’m not surprised because we’ve known that it’s a very large problem in parts of California,” Backer said. “This is a process measure that impacts many other aspects of health care quality and patient care.”

But there was positive data in the report suggesting Californians getting long-term nursing home care were the least likely in the nation to have lost too much weight, be depressed or have a fall with a major injury. California adults are also slightly less likely to have chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, and arthritis.

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